Archive for the 'General election' Category

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The flaw in going into an election about “the will of the people” is that those thinking Brexit was wrong have a 6% lead

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

This rather narrows the target audience

This polling Tracker from YouGov has been asked at least twice a month since the 2016 referendum and the big trend is that there has been a shift from those thinking Brexit was right to those thinking that brexit was wrong.

This matters, I would suggest, if there is to be an election which is presented as being about the People vs the Politicians as is being suggested by many commentators this morning.

For the fact is that there has been a shift in opinion in views of Brexit and that it well over a year and a half since the YouGov tracker has found a lead for those thinking Brexit was right. Public opinion has not shifted very much but it has shifted and the steady leads for Brexit wrong should be a concern.

This is the trend table from YouGov which has not been updated with the latest poll. Until about GE2017 Brexit right was mostly in the lead.

The fact, of course, is that the UK remains totally split on the issue and Johnson could be going into dangerous territory by appealing to fewer than half of the voting population.

Mike Smithson


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LDs just ahead of the Tories in 20 top CON-LD marginals YouGov poll

Tuesday, August 13th, 2019

Just released on the YouGov website today is the above poll commissioned by the People’s Vote in the 20 most marginal Tory seats where the Lib Dems are the main challenger.

As can be seen the Lib Dems just have the edge of just one percent ahead  The interesting figure is the 11% LAB share and my guess is that that would be squeezed very tightly in a general election in places where the Lib Dems would be the main challengers to the Tory incumbents.

Given that we might only be weeks away from a  General Election we should expect a lot more surveys like this.

Mike Smithson


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Why many pollsters overstated LAB so much at the May Euros and what could be happening with current VI polls

Wednesday, July 17th, 2019

 

GE2017 LAB voters forgetting what they did could be causing distortion

After the 1992 polling debacle when John Major’s Tories won an overall majority even though all but one of the pollsters had LAB ahead a big effort was launched by ICM to find out what had gone wrong and we’ve all heard about “shy Tories” less willing to take part in polls.

The firm’s Nick Sparrow in conjunction with Prof John Curtice came up with what is known as past vote weighting to ensure samples were balanced. Basically respondents were asked how they voted last time and their responses were adjusted so that the sample broadly reflected the previous election.

It worked well and for GE1997 and GE2001  ICM became top pollster. At GE2005 another pollster, NOP, used the same approach and got the result spot on.

By GE2010 most pollsters had adopted mechanisms on the past vote model to ensure balanced samples. The only problem is that you cannot rely on those sampled to remember how they voted.  According to an excellent analysis by Anthony Wells of YouGov is what is happening at the moment with many of those who voted for Corbyn’s LAB at GE17.  He writes:

“How to deal with false recall used to be one of the big methodological debates within British polling. Ipsos MORI still don’t use past vote weighting at all because of their concerns over false recall. In more recent years, recalled vote seemed to be closer to reality, and it has become less of an issue. But with the recent major shifts in party support it may once again become a major concern.

At YouGov we have the advantage of a huge, well-established panel, meaning we have many thousands of people from whom we collected past vote data in 2017, before their memory had chance to play tricks on them. Many other companies do not, and must rely on asking people to recall now how they voted in 2017.

This difference may well explain some of the present variation in Labour support between different companies (I suspect it may not be coincidence that the two companies who avoided significantly overstating Labour support in the recent European elections were Ipsos MORI, who don’t use past vote weighting, and YouGov, who are able to use data collected back in 2017 for past vote weighting).

To illustrate Wells did a test with the same data from the sample but processed differently. One using what those on its panel said they did at GE17 and another on how they now recall their vote. As can be seen there’s a marked impact on the LAB share.

The reason for the variation is that the smaller number of those recalling now that they voted LAB at GE17 means that the responses of those who said they did have to be weighted up in order to fit a past vote weighting model.

Mike Smithson


 

 



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In spite of all the uncertainty a 2019 general election is still less than a 50% chance in the betting

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019


Betdata.io chart of movements on Betfair Exchange

Will Boris be tempted?

Last night’s ComRes poll suggesting that the Tories under Johnson could secure a 40 seat majority raises the question once again of whether the new leader would risk going to the country soon after taking over the leadership.

The reasons are powerful. The need to get Brexit through by the end of October and, of course, a desire to underpin the perceived democratic legitimacy of his position. Johnson would be the first PM ever to have got the job as a result of a ballot restricted to his party’s membership.

There’s also the huge issue over Commons numbers as he tries to further the Brexit process. He looks set to be in an even worse parliamentary position than TMay with the likely loss in the Brecon by-election and the real possibility of some Tory MPs refusing to back him in a confidence vote.

Labour, still plagued by the lack of resolution over the charges of antisemitism and the ongoing divide over Brexit, might be an easier foe in September of October than Corbyn’s party was in June 2017.

As can be seen from the chart the betting chances of a 2019 election slipped markedly after reaching a peak in late March. The trend is moving upwards but it is still only a 43% chance.

But after working so hard to become leader and PM would Johnson dare risk it all by going to the country early. TMay’s GE2017 experience still casts a shadow over the party.

One way the next election might be unlike other recent contests is that the pro-Remain parties could get their act together and agree just one contender in each constituency as is happening at the Brecon by-election. The most accurate pollsters from last May have a GRN plus LD aggregate approaching 30% which could put a pact in a powerful position.

Mike Smithson


 

 



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2019 now moves to the favourite slot as year of the next general election

Thursday, June 13th, 2019


Chart of Betfair price movements from Betdata.io

The big betting move following Johnson’s thumping victory in the first round of the CON MP leadership voting has been renewed interest in the next general election taking place this year. This has now moved to favourite on Betfair.

A challenge for a Boris-led CON party is going to be keeping the parliamentary grouping together because, if not, you could see him failing a government confidence motion at the first hurdle which, if not rescinded within a fortnight, would trigger a general election.

His challenge is the same one that TMay faced but more so – MP numbers. It doesn’t take many CON MPs to not back the government in a confidence vote for this to be lost.

His victory in today’s vote was stunning and far exceeded most expectations. It is hard to see anyone other than him entering Number 10 when this process is all over.

Maybe we will have to rethink the “rule” that long term favourites for the Tory leadership don’t make it?

The major limitation on PM Boris is now the member for Uxbridge himself. In the next week or so he mustn’t do anything that raises any doubts about his character or ability to carry out the role.

To be sure he’s going to face a scrutiny in the media the likes of which he has never faced before.

Mike Smithson


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Observer reporting that CON MPs would block TMay’s plan to call snap election

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

From the Sunday papers that we have now got in the Observer reports that Tory MPs would block the prime minister if she sought to call a general election. This has been heavily hinted at since the Brexit votes were lost on Friday.

Before the Fixed Term Parliament Act the choice of choosing a general election date was totally in the hands of the prime minister. The act changed that and now a election can only be called if two-thirds of all MPs back one in a vote or there’s a vote of no confidence.

The paper reports:-

In a sign of the collapse in authority suffered by the prime minister, cabinet ministers are among those warning that there will be a serious campaign by Conservative MPs to vote against an election headed by May, a move she hinted at last week to break the Brexit deadlock.

The threat of an election immediately angered both pro-Brexit and pro-Remain MPs. May would need a two-thirds majority in the Commons to secure one, meaning a serious rebellion by Tories could block it. May would then be forced to secure an election by backing a no-confidence vote in her own government, which only requires a simple majority of MPs.

So this takes away one of TMay key weapons. Her only chance of getting her deal through is by putting it to MPs for a fourth time.

The other way she could try to call can an election is by contriving a vote of no confidence in her own government.

One poll tonight from Delta has LAB with a 5% lead.

Mike Smithson


 

 



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Independents’ day. The implications for Jeremy Corbyn

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Let us now praise obscure women. With the launch of the Independent Group, much attention has been given to the more visible members of the seven MPs. Chuka Umunna briefly stood to be leader of the Labour party. Chris Leslie was shadow Chancellor. Luciana Berger has had the most public of battles with anti-Semitic opponents. I suggest, however, that the most significant of the defecting MPs is the least commented-upon: Ann Coffey.

I hope that Ms Coffey will not be upset if I suggest that she is not particularly well-known. She has been in Parliament for over quarter of a century, rising no higher than Parliamentary Private Secretary in all that time. I expect that she will look back at her extensive efforts made towards the protection of children as her political work that she is proudest of.

What she is not, however, is a rentagob. Media outlets have not found it difficult to find Labour MPs who have been willing to say exactly what they think of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Ms Coffey is not one of those. With Margaret Hodge, she jointly tabled the motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn in the wake of the original Brexit vote in 2016. Otherwise, she has largely kept her own counsel.

Until Monday, when she jumped ship.  Ms Coffey is 72. She will no doubt be standing down at the next election. She could easily have served out her time quietly, slipping away without fuss. She chose not to. Yes, in a sense it was cost-free. In another sense, however, in a party which still regards Ramsay MacDonald as its greatest villain, the price was enormous.

    She explained her decision to the Manchester Evening News in simple clear words. Of course antisemitism is an issue, of course the leadership is an issue and the line on Brexit. We are seeing a party that used to be a broad church in which there was a possibility to have discussions turned into a party in which any criticism of the leader or any different voice is responded to by being called a traitor. There comes a time when I have got to do something about it.

These words should terrify the Labour leadership. Instinctively paranoid, they will now be wondering how many other MPs are quietly weighing similar calculations. Some, such as Ian Murray, have not been quiet on the subject.

So far, however, the tone of the inner circle has been woefully misjudged. Jeremy Corbyn’s response, given above, was not far off “don’t let the door hit your arse on the way out”. His outriders on social media have been predictably less restrained, demanding loyalty pledges from those perceived to be unreliable, branding the group the Blair Rich Project and posting the lyrics from the Red Flag about cowards flinching and traitors sneering. The pièce de resistance was the news emerging the same day that Derek Hatton had been readmitted to the Labour party. Quite how any of this is supposed to reassure the doubters is wholly unclear.

The move has demonstrated the depth of the party divide. Tom Watson, the deputy leader, was notably much more sympathetic to those leaving, setting out his views in a soul-searching video. Yvette Cooper approvingly quoted his message in a tweet.

In a sense, it does not matter now whether other MPs also head for the exit. Whether dissident MPs remain onboard or jump into a lifeboat, they have to decide whether they can back Jeremy Corbyn as next Prime Minister. There now seems to be ample evidence that considerably more than these seven feel that they cannot.

This has two consequences, one for this Parliament and one for the next.  The consequence for this Parliament is that it looks extraordinarily hard for Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister in any circumstances without a general election. Even if the DUP were to abandon the Conservatives for Labour, these new independents would presumably not back him in a vote of confidence (and it must now be very doubtful whether all of the MPs who remain in the Labour party would do so if it came to the crunch). And that assumes that the Lib Dems, the SNP, Plaid Cymru etc could all be corralled into supporting him: given that they have already said that they will not support another vote of no confidence in the government, that looks a brave assumption.

Theresa May has already indicated that she intends to step down before the next election. So his chances of becoming the next Prime Minister look slim.

Let’s assume, however, that somehow the next general election is fought between Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn again. Stranger things have happened. Nothing in the polling currently suggests that Labour are going to get an overall majority. The single best chance Labour have at present to take power is in a hung Parliament.

With Labour’s leader so widely distrusted, he is going to struggle to put together a minority government with himself as Prime Minister, especially when he can place no reliance on his own Parliamentary party’s support of him. The price of Labour taking power might well be someone different as leader, just as the Lib Dems’ price for talking about a coalition with Labour in 2010 was Gordon Brown’s head. Many Labour MPs would be privately delighted.

All this points one way. It is much much harder than currently appreciated for Jeremy Corbyn to become next Prime Minister. Yet you can still lay him on Betfair at 7. (This looks like a clearcut bet to me if your market position is such that placing this bet would not be tying up money, and given Theresa May’s job security is arguably a clearcut bet anyway.) These seven MPs may well crash and burn as independents, but they may well have put the nail in the coffin of the ambitions that Jeremy Corbyn has to be Prime Minister.

Alastair Meeks